Many businesses have temporarily shuttered due to COVID-19, but as owners get the green light to reopen some aren’t sure they’ll be able to afford it. (Black Press Media files)

Low profits, few customers in post-pandemic recovery says B.C. business survey

About 43 per cent of businesses say they think they will need government incentives to continue operating

A survey of British Columbia businesses finds barely one quarter believe they can open and operate profitably as the province gradually eases COVID-19 restrictions.

More than 1,300 member businesses of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, the BC Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council of British Columbia were asked about the second phase of B.C.’s restart plan.

A statement from the board of trade says 26 per cent expect to open and operate at a profit while 75 per cent worry about attracting customers.

Other concerns include a lack of cash to meet expenses or new safety standards and the board says 55 per cent also believe restarting their business will take at least two months.

But owners now report an average of just 12 layoffs, down from 43 in mid-March, and the board says that likely shows the effect of wage subsidy programs.

About 43 per cent of businesses say they think they will need government incentives to continue operating.

Val Litwin, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce says despite the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the crisis is not over for businesses across the province.

“Policy-makers must appreciate that business models will be very fragile during this early stage of the recovery cycle and that ongoing supports will be essential,” he says in the statement.

Nearly 400,000 B.C. workers have lost their jobs since the pandemic hit, says Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia.

He is calling on the federal and provincial governments to address tax, regulatory and process costs.

The survey is the third in a series conducted by the Mustel Group on behalf of B.C.’s major business organizations since COVID-19 forced closure of many sectors of the provincial economy two months ago.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronaviruslocal business

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Long wait to reopen is over for Sidney gym

Owner of Sidney’s Anytime Fitness expects safety measures to be in place for some time

VIDEO: Langford man battling cancer honored with hot rod, motorcycle procession

Friends and family support Patrick O’Hara on his 73rd birthday

Langford Fire calm mother and daughter after being trapped in elevator

Three-year-old girl given stuffed animal to calm nerves

‘Seven baths in two days’: Homeless adjusting to life in hotels

Victoria passes motion to allow camping 24-7 in parks until June 25

Capital Regional District prepares to reopen regional campgrounds

Camping will look different at Island View, Sooke Potholes, Jordan River sites

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read